Business Consulting

We start with a question.  Where would you locate your business on the Business Lifecycle Model?

Clients have found this exercise extremely helpful, as it tells them what the business needs from you at this stage of development to grow.  This is your job description – and this is what we work on together.

How does consulting for business owners work?

Strategic Planning— “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” (Dwight Eisenhower) We create a business plan that is flexible and responsive to changing conditions, and that gives you a road map so you always know where you are and where you are going.

Customer Journey Mapping—a disciplined method used to identify those key moments which have maximum impact on the customer’s experience with your business. These are the moments that drive what the customer will say about you and why they buy from you – and thus have disproportionate impact on growth and value.

Leadership Models—there are several I have found particularly useful for business owners.

Partner Meetings—I facilitate partner meetings to produce buy-in and clarity on company strategy. No one can do it alone – a company achieves great success when all are ‘pushing and pulling each other up the hill’.  I provide you with tools and processes used by you and team leaders to drive your business to maximum financial value, and to productively address disagreements that you want to occur along the way.  These workshops have been developed and perfected with the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, where I serve as an adjunct faculty member.

Workshops—I facilitate workshops for key employees – an efficient and effective way to develop needed skills in executing company strategy to achieve maximum value creation.

Additional Reading and Resources

  • The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
  • The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge
  • The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Some examples of what we work on

  • How do I systematically build a culture where every person in my company knows exactly what we are here to do and exactly what their contribution must be?
  • How do I run a sales meeting, where everyone leaves the room with more energy and determination, even if we are not making our numbers?
  • How do I create a budget that drives decision-making and gives everyone clarity on what success looks like?
  • How do I identify what is signal for everyone in my company, and thereby keep people from being distracted by noise?
  • How do I prepare for this very important meeting with a prospect?
  • How do I decide when to add payroll, always being uncertain about future revenue?

Some encouraging case studies

Producer to Owner

Two architects worked for 15 years designing multi-unit residential properties for multi-million dollar architectural firms.  Motivated by the Great Recession, they decided to strike out on their own, leveraging excellent experience in design, client relationships, zoning, building codes and construction contractors.

They were the classic entrepreneur-producers, who thoroughly understood their product and their customer – and who had never run a business.


We needed someone to talk to who was outside the situation and could help us see the business issues clearly – recognizing that much of what we were looking at was predictable given our stage of business development.


  • Cultural norms were developed. “I” became the pronoun used when speaking of effort, responsibility, and pride in quality work.  “We” was the pronoun to use when speaking of design and product.
  • A Specific Client focus. The owners decided that budget-driven complex projects best leveraged the firm’s differentiating expertise, and altered hiring specifications accordingly.
  • Staff transformed into a TEAM.  Rather than being extensions of the owners to produce more work, skills within the office were systematically recognized, leveraged, and celebrated to enhance the Team’s performance.  By extension, this included a recognition of when staff changes needed to be made – and having the courage to do so promptly.
  • Developed an understanding that protecting the business is the highest priority.  It is the business, after all, that provides for the owner’s families, the Team’s families, and that provides value-added services to clients which enhance their lives, businesses, and properties.
  • A niche was identified.   KOA now serves budget-driven clients with larger-scale projects, further differentiating the firm and its unique value proposition.